10 impactful documentaries you should watch on Netflix

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Shirkers (2018)

Shirkers is not the film it was supposed to be. The original Shirkers was intended to be a feature length drama/mystery, in the style akin to something David Lynch might direct, a film that could have shaped the history of independent Singaporean cinema. This Shirkers is lost to the world, and in its place comes director Sandi Tan’s documentary about how Shirkers came not to be.

Through animated vignettes and brutally honest interviews with her childhood friends,Tan investigates the origins of Shirkers — revealing an intimate and powerful love for cinema, ideas and concepts that feel ahead of their time and a personal project cruelly stolen away by a much older man. The villain of Shirkers is Georges Cadonas, Tan’s film teacher and mentor. Whilst attending Cardonas’ classes with her friends, Tan and Cardonas shot Shirkers — roping in everyone Tan knew to make the project happen. A micro-budget, an inexperienced crew and a sprawling script turned into a life changing experience for Tan — along with friends Jasmine Ng and Sophia Siddique who both appear in the documentary.

Why was the film never released? All is explained in Tan’s documentary, alongside the eerie relationship she had with Cardonas and how the experience of making Shirkers changed her, Ng and Siddique irrevocably. It’s a wild ride, with twists that you don’t see coming, but Tan handles the subject with expertise — it is her own story after all.

Shirkers may not have made it onto our screens as it was intended, but the documentary has been met with nothing but acclaim. It currently has a 100 percent certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, so if you haven’t already seen it, you really must.